Another UFC Hall of Famer has joined Bellator MMA. But this one might be the biggest one yet.

On Wednesday, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker announced the promotion had come to an agreement with mixed martial arts pioneer Royce Gracie.

According to Coker, Gracie will host seminars, be involved in autograph and promotional appearances, as well as aiding in the International expansion of Bellator around the world. Bellator and Gracie will also be involved in a co-branded merchandise line that will debut in 2015.

“I have known Scott for a long time and have always respected him as not only a promoter but as a martial artist who has always treated fighters with respect and truly understands their value,” stated Gracie in a press release. “Bellator and Viacom want to give fans exciting fights and enable fighters to continue to grow and most importantly provide for their family, and it’s something I want to be a part of. UFC has done a great job over the past twenty years in building this sport and taking it globally and I’m glad to have been part of that, but Bellator is a growing organization I am honored to be a part of, and with the dedicated and talented people already associated with the company, we can further the growth of mixed martial arts as a sport worldwide.”

Gracie (14-2-3), is widely known as one MMA’s earliest stars, having fought in the UFC’s first five events, including winning the UFC 1, 2 and 4 tournaments. As the face of the UFC during the early 90s, the jiu-jitsu specialist catapulted the company into the mainstream media with his trademark Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  He currently holds the UFC record for most consecutive submission victories with 11, which he earned between UFC 1 and UFC 4.

As one of the most influential individuals in the history of the sport, Gracie joined former rival Ken Shamrock as the first inductees into the UFC Hall of Fame back in 2003.

“To call Royce a legend would be an absolute understatement,” stated Coker. “Royce and the Gracie family are directly responsible for making this sport what it is today and we are incredibly fortunate to have him be a part of the Bellator family. Royce will serve in many different capacities for Bellator and I look forward to our fighters, staff and most importantly, our fans, in having the chance to interact with one of the most iconic figures in sports.”

Gracie will immediately be involved with Bellator, including promotion for Bellator 131, which is headlined by a light heavyweight showdown between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar, along with a Lightweight Title fight between Michael Chandler and Will Brooks on November 15.

About The Author

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José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.